Disney’s ‘Mulan’ was supposed to be a big hit in China. The coronavirus could threaten that

The company is preparing to release “Mulan” — its live-action remake of the beloved 1998 animated film about a Chinese warrior woman — in North America on March 27.

The film cost $200 million to make and was expected to make a big splash in China. But the country, which is also the world’s second-biggest movie market behind the United States, has been thrown into turmoil by the public health crisis.

More than 1,300 people are dead and more than 60,000 have been infected, mostly in mainland China. The outbreak has forced the closure of businesses all over the country, including cinemas. While some companies have started to reopen this week, many others remain closed. Disney’s theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong, for example, have been shuttered until further notice.
It’s not clear when “Mulan” will make its debut in China. Release dates for films in the country are set by the Chinese government, rather than studios, so they are often confirmed just weeks before a film is set to open. Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC earlier this month that while the film will eventually be released there, “at this point, we’re not sure when.”

“All of the movie companies that are expecting to distribute movies coming up in China obviously are impacted by this,” Iger said. “The bigger issue on everybody’s mind, the bigger concern, is what’s going on with this virus and how far will it go in terms of its impact on people.”

A Disney (DIS) spokesperson said that the studio is monitoring the…

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